(This column was first published in the Friday, January 20, 1995 issue of Amandala.)
Derivatives … of wealth
From the land … “By the might of truth and the grace of God, no longer shall we be hewers of wood …”
1. Institute under the aegis of U.C.B. a sister relationship with one of the universities of the Northwest U.S.A., say the University of Oregon, to bring their forestry students and staff to a campus in the Toledo District. This will be mutually beneficial, as on the one hand it will help the development of U.C.B., Toledo, and Belize, and on the other hand it will help the University of Oregon to maintain their department of Forestry, until their forests are restored having been destroyed by the Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption.
2. Again in Toledo establish manufacturing facility to utilize the woods of the forest to produce finished products, such as radio/TV consoles, furniture, etc., for the export market. Let’s not import our wood as toothpicks.
3. Lobby to relocate at Central Farm and its surrounds the College of Agriculture of U.W.I. from St. Augustine, Trinidad, absorbing the College of Agriculture of Belize. As a founding member of both U.W.I. and CARICOM, and with four times the land mass of Trinidad, and only one sixth of its population, it is time for Belize to get a substantial return for its participation in the Caribbean Community.
4. Protect the sugar futures of the North by forming a partnership with Obregon. Now that Mexico is part of NAFTA, this will insure a more secure market (albeit a more competitive one). Mexico can in turn run a gas pipeline from its Chiapas oilfields (where she is burning a million cubic feet daily) to the North, thus providing the energy necessary for expansion and diversification. This will be a lot cheaper, and more reliable and efficient than will be Mollejon (unless the latter is part of a larger grid network with Guatemala to exploit the southeast region and the wealth of Belize’s southwest, to the benefit of the transnationals, of course – INCO/ANACONDA comes to mind).
5. The portfolios of all such as the Jason Cistern, Cockscomb Preserves, etc., should come under the control of the National Workers Bank. These lands and part of the other Reserves should be made available to U.C.B, which should seek to secure funds and grants from industrial and pharmaceutical companies to research and develop new products, medicinal and otherwise. Royalties will of course be paid on all such products developed and marketed (and not have repeated the Mexican hybrid corn experience).
6. Over the past several years, many archaeological “digs” have been conducted in Belize, funded by foreign universities and museums. It is time for these funds to be deposited in Belize. It is also time to insist that the various artifacts stay here, and the original research papers lodged in our libraries.
“… Nature has blessed thee with wealth untold, O’er mountains and valleys where prairies roll.”
FROM THE SEA… “Land of the free by the Carib Sea!”
1. Declare the largest living reef in the world a national trust (now that the Great Barrier Reef of Australia has died). Divide it into a northern section extending from Ambergis Caye to Gallows Point, and a southern from Gallows Point to the Sarstoon River. Sectionalize the reef and rent out each portion to universities and pharmaceutical companies to research and develop products as with the land. Royalties will of course be paid.
2. Additionally in conjunction with say the University of Miami and/or Colorado State University and U.C.B., establish a Marine Biology campus at Gallows Point, absorbing the Fisheries Unit and the Smithsonian Research Unit at Benbow Cay, and among other research, experiment with the northern flats to establish fish and oyster farms. A seafood processing plant would be established also at Gallows Point (it’s bigger than present Belize City) to export the produce of both inside and outside the reef.
3. Just as was proposed with Obregon and Northern sugar, so too a joint venture with Mexico should be worked out to develop Xcalak and Northern Ambergris Caye as a Caribbean Riviera to the mutual benefit of both countries.
The southern section from Gallows Point to the Sarstoon may be utilized in the following ways:
1. Rent yearly to the U.S. Navy an area between Punta Negra and Sarstoon for amphibious training exercises. Not only are the wave patterns excellent, but the deep inner channels (deeper than Panama Canal) can accommodate their ships and Punta Ycacos can be used for R&R. For an additional fee they can be offered an area in Sittee for their Southern Command after they leave Panama in 1999. It will be clearly understood that Belizean sovereignty is inviolate.
2. Bunkers for shipping can be built in Sarstoon to facilitate the development of Southwest and Southeastern Belize. “… from proud Rio Hondo to old Sarstoon, through coral isle over blue lagoon, keep watch with the angels, the stars and moon …”
THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ABOVE PROPOSALS IS PREDICATED:
1. On the creativity and the will of the people, and on the negotiating skills and integrity of the elected servants.
2. On the assumption that the base portfolios of the land and sea are under Belize control. If not, demand them!
3. On not fearing to form economic partnerships with Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. (We are all trying to avoid becoming serfs of the industrial North).
4. On changing the present political system with one that gives the people control of their own destiny.
5. And most importantly on the establishment of the National Workers Bank, without which all else is nought – blowing in the wind!
The will to be free, sovereign, and independent… the reality of the land, the sea, and the wealth… “God’s goodness gave this land to me” (and to you)…